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Message 17 of 76 (854913)
06-13-2019 11:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Faith
06-13-2019 3:10 PM

I had studied astrology while in college between 1972/3 and 1975. I got started out of curiosity, mainly trying to find out why everybody backed away very carefully when they learned of my sun sign, Scorpio, but would never tell me why.

Along with learning the symbolism of the signs, planets, houses, aspects, etc, I learned how to cast charts (for lurkers' sake, basically a horoscope ("view of the hour") is a graphical representation of the ecliptic when in the northern hemisphere looking south -- what's above the horizon is visible and what is below isn't). Of course, except for the sun (whose position is what we base our calendar on) you need an ephemeris to find the planets' location.

Once I worked out the equivalence of the astrological and astronomical coordinate systems (sign and declination vs. hours of right ascension (RA) and declination -- basically, astronomers switched from signs to RA because of telescopes, though the sign of Ares is still used to mark the Vernal Equinox), I could answer fellow astronomy students' pressing questions about where a particular planet was; eg, "Professor, where's Uranus?".

I also learned each planet's orbital period and how to mentally visualize planetary motion. That came in handy one Cub Scout camping weekend at a Scout camp in the mountains on the edge of the desert. While that promised excellent viewing for star gazing and an astronomy lesson (can't get a view like that in the city), the moon was out. However, I performed some rough calculations from which I concluded that the moon would rise about 45 minutes later each night, so I knew that we would have some star gazing time on the final night. We could even watch the satellites crossing the sky.

Of course, testing the system led me to realize that it didn't actually work. That taught me a valuable lesson about working with the supernatural, that there is no way to develop a dependable system based on the supernatural. Instead of the simplistic system most people falsely assume astrology to be, it is a very intricate system with a very rich symbology for describing personality traits and relationship dynamics -- eg, one of my books is by a psycho-therapist, «Psychologie und astrologische Symbolik». In that way, it's very much like a theology which also has to extrapolate via intricate logic from some basic premises, all with no means of testing and verifying your conclusions *. Like how even that most intricately constructed theology will crumble when any of its premises are shown to be false, the intricate system of astrology crumbles with the failure of its basic premise, "As above, so below." It just simply does not work.

BTW, that was about a decade after I had already left Christianity because reading the Bible had revealed to me that I just couldn't believe that stuff.


I'll save my comments about clueless astrology debunker for another message.

Also, of late I've been considering adding a page or two on astrology to my web site, including the procedure for casting a chart, once I reconstruct the procedure for myself.


The QM course (Quartermaster, the Navy rating involved in ship's navigation) articulated an analogy which I had long known about and which describes the situation with theologies, astrology, and other systems of extrapolation with no means of testing and verifying results.

DED reckoning is a basic navigation technique in which you take your heading and speed and current position and extrapolate where you should be after a given period of time, usually a few hours (basically, rate × time = distance). The problem is that there are several factors that you cannot take into account which will throw you off course such that you end up not quite where you expected to be. And the longer the time period the more off course you get.

For that reason, standard practice (pre-GPS) would be to step outside and take readings in order to perform a fix on your actual location. This would be done at least a few times a day, with each new fix serving as the starting point for the next DED calculation.

The problem that I see with systems such as theologies is that they lack the ability to perform a fix and so cannot make any corrections when they drift off course. Same as I found to be the case with astrology.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Faith, posted 06-13-2019 3:10 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by Thugpreacha, posted 06-14-2019 10:13 AM dwise1 has responded
 Message 24 by Faith, posted 06-14-2019 1:29 PM dwise1 has responded

Posts: 3639
Joined: 05-02-2006
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Message 30 of 76 (854987)
06-14-2019 4:56 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Faith
06-14-2019 1:29 PM

I must say I'm completely amazed to find out that you of all people studied astrology.

Why should that be? Knowledge is knowledge. If you want to find out about something, then study it. You should never be afraid to study something. Even if your intent is to refute something, you must first study it to learn what it really is and what it really claims.

Sadly, I find especially with creationists that they are terrified of learning what evolution really is and says. I've even had creationists adamantly refuse to even consider studying evolution because "that would require me to believe in it." Complete and utter nonsense! The goal of education is to learn about and to understand the subject matter, not to compel belief in it -- when the US Air Force taught us NCOs about Marxism and Communism the goal was most certainly not for us to become Marxists or Communists! In stark contrast, the goal in religious education is indoctrination which compels belief in the the doctrine being presented. Fundamentalists' ignorance and confusion about the goal of education is one of the hurdles in trying to reason with them.

IOW, there should be no reason for you to refuse to study evolution.

I didn't calculate declensions and all that stuff, I just got the planetary positions out of an ephemeris and drew them on a circular chart with the aspects between them indicated by llnes. I never even learned the meaning of the twelve houses.

The meaning of the houses should have been presented along with the meanings of the planets and of the signs. Basically they represent various areas (I wanted to say "aspects", but that word means something else in astrology) of life with each house being associated with a sign; eg, First House with Ares, Second with Taurus, etc. The aspects (ie, angular relationships between planets) are used to indicate whether the influence of those planets work together (eg, conjunctions, 60° ) or in opposition to each other (eg, opposition, square).

Declension is what you do to nouns and adjectives in inflected languages (eg, Greek, Latin, Russian, German) -- in his "The Awful German Language", Mark Twain quotes a Californian as saying, "I'd rather decline two drinks than one damned German adjective!" Declination is the angular displacement north and south of the Celestial Equator. They're given in most ephemerides, but I don't recall them being used in a chart; instead they're of more use in knowing where to look for that planet or fixed star in the night sky.

For lurkers' sake as well as my own in trying to reconstruct the procedure (especially since I no longer have my class notes from 45 years ago). I haven't tried to write any of this down for about 45 years, so you might be able to help proofread it for me:

  1. Convert the standard time to local sidereal time (I need to work on this part and to verify it) -- you will need to use local sidereal time for all the planetary position calculations:
    1. Determine if daylight savings was in effect and, if so, correct for it. We had reference books listing when DST was in effect and where. It used to be a krazy patchwork in which some states did or didn't and some counties did or didn't and that could change from year to year.
    2. Convert standard time to local solar time. With the location's longitude, calculate how many degrees it is from its Standard Time Meridian and add or subtract the correction (I'll have to reconstruct which way that works). The conversion factor of degrees to time is four minutes of time per degree.
    3. Convert local solar time to local Greenwich time. Basically, since all the entries in the ephemeris are for noon GMT (nowadays UT), you need to translate local time to GMT.
    4. Convert local GMT to local sidereal time. As I recall, take two adjacent sidereal times from the ephemeris (they're for noon on those days) and interpolate. Sidereal time changes by about four minutes per day since the earth moves about one degree along its orbit per day.
  2. Use local sidereal time to interpolate the positions of all the planets. Most planets won't move too much except for the moon which can move about 11 to 15 degrees (nearly half of a sign) per day.
  3. Put your houses in order . Ie, set up your chart with the longitudes of the dividing lines between each house. Once you have done that, you can place the planets on the chart. There are a number of ways to do this of which I can only think of two at the moment:
    1. Equal Houses. Place the sun -- basically, the layout of a horoscope is analogous to a clock and the sun's location is the sky is the basis of daily time. Set the zenith (ie, the meridian) to the local sidereal time (LST -- that's the definition, after all) and then label all the other cusps in intervals of two hours -- eg, if the meridian's LST is at 13:34:48 (23°LIB42'), then the next cusp will be 23°SCO42' and the next one 23°SAG42' and so on. This is basically the method you describe having used though I don't know how you set the first cusp.

      I would use a simplified form of equal houses to sketch a star-gazing horoscope. I would set the meridian to the viewing time, convert that to degrees within that sign, and then all the cusps to two-hour/one-sign increments/decrements from that. Then I would place the planets without interpolation (eye-ball accuracy).

    2. The Right Way. Using a Table of Houses (kind of like a log or trig table) and the latitude, you look up the longitudes of all the cusps. I never learned the theory behind it, which is supposed to be based on spherical trigonometry, and this is the part of the procedure that I'm most hazy about. I think that this is most important if your interpretation depends more on the houses.
  4. Place the planets in the chart.

A few years ago I downloaded some ephemerides to use to tell where the planets are for star-gazing purposes. For example (again, for lurkers' sake):

JUNE 2019
Fr 14 17:28:02 22GE41 11SC24 15CN14 06GE01 18CN33 19SG03 19CP00 05TA16 18PI43 22CP36 18CN53
Sa 15 17:31:58 23GE38 24SC57 16CN40 07GE14 19CN11 18SG55 18CP57 05TA18 18PI43 22CP34 18CN50

So if you go outside tonight and the sky is clear, before 8PM (2000h -- add an hour if you're on DST) you might be able to see Mars setting in the west. Unfortunately, it's on the other side of the sun right now, so at that distance and due to the inverse-square law it will be quite dim and you probably won't be able to see it. Mars is much easier to see when it's in opposition to the sun because that places it much closer to us, thus greatly reducing the effects of the inverse square law. That won't happen again until Summer 2020.

Venus is currently a Morning Star, but it's fairly close to the sun so viewing's not good but still possible. In August 2019 it will become an Evening Star again and should reach greatest elongation (about 60° separation) in the Winter according to my quick estimation (I should probably write a simple program to figure that out).

At 8PM, the moon will be out and about 30° to the east of the meridian (the meridian is due south from your position; when the sun crosses the meridian that's noon, hence the ante- and post-meridian time designations). Jupiter should be about 30 to 40 degrees to the east of the moon. The moon is waxing but still a few days away from being full.

Saturn should be rising in the east, but I've always found it a difficult one to spot with the naked eye. Venus, Jupiter, and Mars (in opposition) are the easiest.

I got all that just from those lines in the ephemeris, plus looking ahead for future developments.

That thing about spotting Jupiter reminds me of an Ensenada cruise. A group of us went to the Lido deck at midnight for some auto-dog (soft-serve ice cream). One of the women asked me where the moon was, since we couldn't see it out any of the windows. I asked her what phase it was and she said it was full the night before, so my answer for where it was was to point straight up (good within less than 20° ). We had to go out into the pool area to see it since the superstructure was blocking our view, but there it was where I said. I also knew that Jupiter should be to the east, so I looked towards shore and it looked like a police helicopter was approaching us with its searchlight on. I had never seen Jupiter appear so bright. Truly amazing.

Edited by dwise1, : Jupiter's east, not west, of the moon

Edited by dwise1, : Had to eliminate a stray smilie. Hate those things almost as much as I hate Clippy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Faith, posted 06-14-2019 1:29 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Faith, posted 06-14-2019 7:55 PM dwise1 has not yet responded
 Message 36 by Faith, posted 06-14-2019 8:21 PM dwise1 has responded

Posts: 3639
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.7

Message 32 of 76 (854991)
06-14-2019 6:05 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Faith
06-14-2019 1:29 PM

A bit of trivia.

Hair opens with the song, Aquarius, which starts with the following words (apologies for any mistakes, but I remember it far better in German):

When the moon is in the Seventh House,
and Jupiter aligns with Mars

So how often do those two events happen? And more importantly, how often do they both happen at the same time?

Well, Jupiter's orbital period is about 12 years and Mars' is about 2 years. From that, I would estimate that they would be in conjunction about once every two years. That happened on 07 Jan 2018 (17°Scorpio55'). It will happen again between 20 Mar 2020 and 21 Mar 2020 at around 22°Capricorn45'. That's about 2yr 2mo 14dy or every 26.5 months. So every 26.5 months, a little over two years, Jupiter will align with Mars ("und Jupiter mit Mars zugeht").

So how often is the moon in the Seventh House? Well, since a horoscope is basically a clock, then every day all the planets will rotate about the earth (geocentrically speaking, which is after all our perspective relatively speaking). Since all twelve houses are fixed, that means that all the planets will pass through all twelve houses over the course of a single day. So that means that the moon will be in the Seventh House every single day.

So then this cosmically significant configuration will happen every couple years. The words sound much more impressive than the actual fact which is rather mundane.

I'm sure that you're aware of the explanation of the "Age of Aquarius", but lurkers probably aren't.

The earth spins like a top, which means that its axis wobbles a bit. It takes about 24,000 years for it to complete one full wobble. One effect that this has is that the Vernal Equinox is slowly moving westward along the ecliptic. This movement is called the precession of the equinoxes.

One of the things resulting from this precession is that the signs no longer align with the constellations. About 2000 years ago, the start of the sign of Ares (AKA the Vernal Equinox) lined up with the "start" of the constellation of Ares, but for the past 2000 years Ares has started in the constellation of Pisces. Now the Vernal Equinox is moving into the constellation of Aquarius.

So according to astrological theory (from I don't know how far back), the Astrological Age that we are in is determined by what constellation the Vernal Equinox is in and the religious symbolism of the time is determined thus. Therefore, from 4000 BCE to 2000 BCE we were in the Taurean Age (bulls as sacred symbol), from 2000 BCE to 0 the Arean Age (the ram, sheep), from 0 to about 2000 CE the Piscean Age (the fish), and now we are transitioning into the Aquarian Age (humanism). Of course, that all seems rather Western-centric.

Astrology debunkers seize upon this misalignment to disprove astrology, but their ignorance of their target is showing yet again. Tropical astrology is not based on the constellations themselves, but rather on the cardinal points: The Vernal Equinox (0° Ares), Summer Solstice (0° Cancer), Autumnal Equinox (0° Libra), and Winter Solstice (0° Capricorn).

BTW, I saw Hair during its first run at the Aquarius Theater in Los Angeles, then again a few years later with some friends in Vegas. And a third time some years later, I'm pretty sure, but I forget where. And, no, I wasn't under the influence of anything at any of those times. One of my German professors presented some of the songs in class and I bought the album for Haare in Germany which I have listened to more than the English version.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Faith, posted 06-14-2019 1:29 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Faith, posted 06-14-2019 7:59 PM dwise1 has responded

Posts: 3639
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.7

Message 33 of 76 (854993)
06-14-2019 6:41 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Thugpreacha
06-14-2019 10:13 AM

Re: Sense & Nonsense.
I'm guessing that the reason you are still intrigued by astrology is because there is math involved...thus the belief seems amusingly probable.

Not really. Pure math can be interesting at times, but I'm more basically an engineer who is more interested in practical applications.

As I already said, I have found that the goals of astrology could not be met, but at the same time I did gain a lot of practical knowledge and skills. Until a few centuries ago, astrology was astronomy (just as alchemy was chemistry). The development of star atlases and coordinate systems and observational methods and observational data was all part of astrology. The keeping of calendars was part of astrology. The techniques for predicting planetary positions and other astronomical events (eg, eclipses) were all part of astrology. For that matter, Johannes Kepler, famous for his three Laws of Planetary Motion, was a practicing astrologer.

So when you divorce all the woo from astrology, you end up with most of the basis for astronomy. The coordinate systems are identical, except that the introduction of the telescope led to replacing the measurement of celestial longitude in degrees (subdivided into the 12 signs) with time (hours of Right Ascension (RA) as in how long will it take for that object to line up with my telescope). The observation of the planets and of their periodicities. The establishment of the cardinal points (the equinoxes and solstices) which we base our calendar on. Virtually all practical astronomy comes from astrology, even though now we feel too embarrassed by it (as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy observed about the ape-descended inhabitants of Earth, we are too embarrassed by our cousins and almost never invite them to dinner).

I seem to have fair mental visualization skills which I have often used to visualize problems in planetary motion. I have long had projects planned for making orbital predictions and translating between coordinate systems.

And besides, I keep seeing bungled attempts, especially by astronomers, to debunk astrology based on their misconceptions about it and other false assumption. I react to that the same way as I do to creationists' bungled attempts based on their abject ignorance of and misconceptions about evolution. If you are going to try to debunk something, then at least do it right and don't rely solely on misrepresentations.

The math involved in a Trinitarian doctrine simply doest add up...I mean...1+1+1=1 ??

Trinitarianism is extra-biblical (meaning that it ain't in the Bible). And it is not relevant.

Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane did a comedy, Nuns on the Run (1990) (also included Rose Tyler's mum, Jackie). One religious education class scene had one of them trying to explain the Trinity by using the shamrock, then in a later scene he did a blessing, "In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Shamrock." That was the first that I had ever heard of the shamrock being used in such a manner, but then much more recently I heard that St. Patrick had also used it in the same manner.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Thugpreacha, posted 06-14-2019 10:13 AM Thugpreacha has acknowledged this reply

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Message 49 of 76 (855087)
06-16-2019 12:03 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Thugpreacha
06-16-2019 7:21 AM

Re: Sense & Non-sense.
What good does it do to advertise our "product" when we look stoopid and stubborn?

I always thought that was your "product". BTW, misspelling was made necessary by some stoopid forum setting; maybe I should substitute German or Spanish words when that happens again.

But seriously, that is my primary message to creationists: it does not serve your cause, but rather is counter-productive and contrary to Christian doctrine, to depend on creationist lies and deceptions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Thugpreacha, posted 06-16-2019 7:21 AM Thugpreacha has responded

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Message 74 of 76 (856055)
06-25-2019 11:27 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Faith
06-14-2019 7:59 PM

DWise1 writes:

When the moon is in the Seventh House,
and Jupiter aligns with Mars

... Not that I'd have any idea what it might have to do with the Age of Aquarius anyway.

Exactly my point, since those conditions happen every 26 months or so. The song says that that constellation brings peace and love and associates that with the Age of Aquarius (which comes around every 26,000 years and lasts about 2000 years).

Write it off to poetic license, which hopefully hadn't expired.

Hey I meant to ask: you got interested in astrology because you are a Scorpio and people seemed to back away from you when they knew that? Is that true? Anyway, if it's true did your study lead you to any kind of insight about your own chart related to that?

Yes, it is true that that is what got me started in my studies.

It turns out that they were reacting to extreme stereotyping. Scorpios are supposed to intense sex maniacs -- a Scorpio girl in astrology class had the opposite experience in that all the guys would react to her sun sign by crowding around her and try to hit on her. No, I am not a sex maniac, but I do seek hidden knowledge which translates to my curiosity of how everything works, which in turn translates to my interests in reverse-engineering, physiology, science, languages, creation science claims, what the Mueller Report actually says, etc. I see something and I immediately try to figure it out. After almost every discussion that raised some questions, I would start looking for the answers. Since the Internet arrived, I have made a lot of use of it in my research, especially Wikipedia. Also, I keep trying to get the answers, which can be frustrating when dealing with creationists since they are infamous for being evasive.

I also tend to remember a lot of things that have happened and to hold grudges, but then I've also heard that that just comes from being Scottish. A disadvantage of being born under the Sign of the Scot is that you are always afraid to look up .

This message is a reply to:
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Message 75 of 76 (856058)
06-26-2019 12:33 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by Faith
06-14-2019 8:21 PM

I don't remember if you were in on the discussion about "The Star of Bethlehem" (Message 399) a few years ago, about a video in which this guy gets an astronomy program to see if he could identify what the star was that led the Magi to Bethlehem. He concluded it was Jupiter that started out in a superbright conjunction with Venus and then appeared to travel and stop right over Bethlehem -- as it went retrograde at that location -- On December 25th interestingly enough, in whatever year that was. When Jesus was a toddler.

I didn't participate in that one. There have certainly been several explanations for "The Star of Bethlehem", including that it was just made up for the story.

An astrological explanation such as you present would fit in that the Magi would have been astrologers themselves. They would have certainly known Jupiter and Venus, so they might have been motivated by some kind of interpretive significance for that particular conjunction, but I cannot think of any other reason. Jupiter-Venus conjunctions should happen at least once a year -- if more than once a year, they'd all be clustered within the same four-month period -- , so they would be almost as common as sand.

Remember that planets' slow west-to-east movement against the background of the fixed stars is insignificant compared to their daily apparent east-to-west movement across the sky. But that would be common knowledge for astrologers and hence nothing special.

Another basic fact to keep in mind is that Venus, being in an inferior orbit, is confined to always being no more than 47° from the sun -- Venus can never ever be in opposition to the sun, nor square to it. When Venus goes retrograde, it's because it has literally moved over to the other side of its orbit. Jupiter, being in a superior orbit, can be at any angle from the sun. When Jupiter goes retrograde, it's just an optical illusion as Jupiter is in opposition and the earth passes by it.

The only time that Jupiter can ever be in conjunction with Venus is when Jupiter is within 47° from the sun. When that happens, Jupiter will actually be at its visual dimmest because it is farthest away from earth and so the light coming from it will have dispersed more as per the inverse-square law. That same effect causes Mars to be very difficult to spot, but Jupiter is so much brighter so you can still see it, but it won't be as bright as when it's in opposition to the sun, at which time it cannot possibly be in conjunction with Venus.

For the "Star" to be in the west, it would need to be east of the sun such that it would set after the sun sets, which would make it visible in the western sky after sunset -- during the day, the sun's light would render the "Star" invisible. This consideration would apply regardless of what that "Star"actually was supposed to have been.

Another idea was that it could have been a comet. Any given night, a comet doesn't appear to be moving, so any apparent motion would be due to earth's rotation. It would not be visible until night time, so for it to be in the west it would be positioned as described above. A comet should be a rare enough event and very noticeable in the sky.

Yet another idea could have been a star having gone nova. I don't know if any candidates have been found for that, though I remember a science fiction short story in which something triggers a star to go nova and that just happened to be seen as "The Star of Bethlehem".

That conspiracy theory film, Zeitgeist, speculated that the "Star" was actually Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, and that the three stars of Orion's Belt, which serve as pointers to Sirius, represent the Three Magi. Good story, but it doesn't hold up. First, it's a common sight, so just as nothing-special as a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. Second, they're not in the winter sky, but rather the spring sky. Third, the "Three Magi" set before Sirius, so the "Star would be following the Magi, not the other way around.

Trying to get a story fit with reality can be a frustrating endeavor.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Faith, posted 06-14-2019 8:21 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
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